Effect of problem based approach on medical students’ learning satisfaction and understanding in the histology course topics


avatar MJ Rezaie 1 , * , avatar A Pooladi 2

1 Assistant professor, Anatomy Department, Kurdistan University of medical sciences

2 General practitioner

How to Cite: Rezaie M, Pooladi A. Effect of problem based approach on medical students’ learning satisfaction and understanding in the histology course topics. J Med Edu. 2009;13(4):e105411. doi: 10.22037/jme.v13i4.4522.


Journal of Medical Education: 13 (4); e105411
Published Online: May 25, 2013
Article Type: Brief Report
Received: May 25, 2013
Accepted: May 25, 2013


Background and purpose: Problem-based learning (PBL) is a term used within education for a range of teaching approaches that encourage students to learn through the structured exploration of a problem. Histology comes early in the curriculum and the medical students seem unable to see the value of the content, they don't appear to be motivated to learn the content. This project used PBL to help the students make the connection between the content and clinical aspects.Methods: Thirty six undergraduate medical students, 22 female and 14 male, enrolled in the histology course during the spring semester of 2008. A survey which collected information relative to gender, course load, and workload and study time was used. The subjects were accessory glands of digestive system histology. The course is designed into four units: tree units of salivary glands, pancreas and gall bladder histology, were presented in a traditional lecture format; the fourth unit, liver was presented in a problem-based format that used clinical practice. Assessment focused on three issues of a. student engagement, b. lesson assessment in terms of clarity, interest and usefulness and c. student understanding.Results: Student comments collected during PBL class periods indicate engagement in the topic. In PBL method of teaching most of responses were consistent with the aim of teaching but in traditional classes few responses relate to the objectives at hand. Students had more active partnership in PBL class. Students found PBL class more useful, interesting and clear in terms of subject material than traditional method.Conclusions: In this project student comments collected during PBL class periods indicated more engagement in the topic. Students’ understanding of material were significantly higher and students’ partnership in PBL class was more than traditional classes.


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